Definitions[ edit ] Joan Morgan believes that "more than any other generation before us, we need a feminism committed to keeping it real. We need a voice like our music; one that samples and layers many voices, injects its sensibilities into the old and flips it into something new, provocative, and powerful. We need a feminism that possesses the same fundamental understanding held by any true student of hip-hop.
Truth can't be found in the voice of anyone rapper but the juxtaposition of many". A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down, Morgan identifies as a feminist and discusses how she loves hip-hop which was known for being misogynistic and homophobic. This, Morgan notes, are things that seemingly go against feminist ideologies. Morgan comes up with the concept of "fucking with the greys" which to her meant embracing contradictions such as being a feminist while at the same time loving hip-hop and even enjoying the parts of it that are patriarchal and misogynistic.
According to Rinaldo Walcott, debates about hip-hop, homophobia, and queers have failed to acknowledge the centrality of non-heterosexuality to hip hop and rap cultures from its very inception.
Furthermore, because hip-hop emerges from the odd or queer histories of urban black diaspora communities, the claim that hip-hop and rap culture has always been queer is neither revisionist nor a play with language—even if both might be needed in the contemporary settlement of a straightened out hip hop.
Walcott argues that it is precisely in the context of a straightened out hip hop that a queer sociality and definitely a homosociality animates some of hip hop's most exciting moments as the soundtrack of contemporary urban life and beyond.
He asks that we look at the gestures by individual rappers that work in the service of queering hip hop by providing a fluid or dynamic representation that belies a static and monolithic rendering of the music. Neal looks to Jay-Z,  a fixture on the hip hop landscape, and assesses the gestures he makes that trouble traditional black masculinity in hip hop representation, particularly as the rapper has tried to negotiate his presence in a genre so tied to youth while he continues to age.
For Neal, queer means a departure from rap masculinity as it is normally rendered. He cites Jay-Z's dress, video treatments, and global presence as markers of his queering hip hop masculine performance. However, he notes that Jay-Z's somewhat alternative performance still maintains hegemony as exerted through classed and raced representations of masculinity.
Morris, that hip-hop feminism remains deeply invested in the intersectional approaches developed by earlier black feminists. To them, Hip-Hop feminists must insist that women and girls of color remain central to analyses, particularly in light of critical gender approaches that treat black women as an addendum to intersectional approaches black women have honed, effectively relegating them to the sidelines of a stage they built.
Within hip-hop feminist studies, hip-hop and feminism act as discrete but constitutive categories that share a dialogic relationship. They see hip-hop feminism as a generationally specific articulation of feminist consciousness, epistemology, and politics rooted in the pioneering work of multiple generations of black feminists based in the United States and elsewhere in the diaspora but focused on questions and issues that grow out of the aesthetic and political prerogatives of hip-hop culture.
Thus, Hip-hop feminism is concerned with the ways the conservative backlash of the s and s, deindustrialization, the slashing of the welfare state, and the attendant gutting of social programs and affirmative action, along with the increasing racial wealth gap, have affected the life-worlds and worldviews of the hip-hop generation.
Redefining an Answer to Rap", Aisha Durham defines hip-hop feminism as "a socio-cultural, intellectual and political movement grounded in the situated knowledge of women of color from the post-civil rights generation who recognize culture as a pivotal site for political intervention to challenge, resist, and mobilize collectives to dismantle systems of exploitation". She goes on to further expand on hip-hop feminism as a distinct movement aimed at examining and engaging with the effect culture has on shaping black female identity, sexuality, and feminisms.
According to Durham, hip-hop feminism "acknowledges the way black womanhood is policed in popular culture It is not a pinup for postfeminism put forth by duped daughters who dig misogynistic rap music and the girl-power pussy politic of empowerment. Hip-hop gains its popularity from its oppositionality and from its complicity in reproducing dominant representations of black womanhood. Critics position misogyny as hip-hop's cardinal sin, which raises the obvious question: How do women actively participate in a culture that seems to hate them so vehemently?
For self-described hip-hop feminists, attempting to answer that question is not their only task, since understanding what hip-hop feminism is and isn't goes far beyond responding to women-bashing sentiment. Hip Hop Feminist Futures in Theory and Praxis", demonstrates that Hip-hop feminism can be used as an explanation for social justice and as a practice in education because it covers a broad spectrum of minorities and their lived experiences which can combat the conception of hip-hop being for Blacks and males.
A lot of the success for hip-hop came from men, however, there are some women who were pioneers to Hip-hop culture. There were all female crews such as The Mercedes Ladies that came during the rise of Hip-hop, before it was coined as a term, that hosted parties, rapped crazy lyrics, and broke out in dance moves similar to male crews without exposing their femininity or female physiques .
Although the Mercedes Ladies are not recognized or as known that much in Hip-hop, they started a movement for female rappers to come and start trying out their MC skills.
This group was the first music artists to appear on national television, making rap and hip-hop television history. When the group ended up going their separate ways, Sha Rock decided to form her own all-female rap group, named Us Girls. Us Girls was then featured in the movie, Beat Street . Rabaka observes that "the majority of hip-hop feminist mobilization at the present moment seems to emerge from cyber-social networks, mass media, and popular culture, rather than nationally networked women's organizations based in government, academic, or male-dominated leftist bureaucracies"; as a result, music videos, which appeal to popular culture, can be disseminated as mass media through cyber-social networks, making them a perfect platform for motivating change.
Her hip-hop feminist play "Goddess City" produced at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and debut novel Dare, a love story retelling of Faust set in the hip-hop world, are key works fusing hip-hop culture with women's empowerment. Hasan Johnson believes hip-hop can work as an intersectional platform: Missy Elliot a hip-hop feminist Rabaka explains the way in which creative mediums such as hip-hop can be used to wreck the interlocking systems of oppression in America: Between social media and fanbases, music artists can influence and represent social movements.
Social media is a powerful medium for social change to be performed and seen. It can reach and influence people of all ages and locations. Music artists can utilize social media platforms to express perspectives on social change in positive ways, despite what motivates them to do so. For several decades, Hip Hop has served as a multipurpose medium to rap and sing about social change, but talking about it on social media outlets nowadays are common.
Participation in Black Lives Matter has been one of the most prevalent forms of social change exemplified by artists in the industry. These movements gain momentum because of the wide audience reached due to fanbase followings on social media. Social change becomes active when it is heard and seen by younger generations. Blige released "What's The ?
In , Queen Latifah broke the glass ceiling of black women in hip-hop by winning a Grammy for her song "U. Artists such as Latifah and Hill mimicked the rap rhetoric of males in the scene and generated a massive amount of attention. Missy Elliot was often seen dressed similar to male hip-hop artists and utilized the same body language and aggressive delivery of her lyrics as a means of protest while still preserving her femininity.
Even after losing weight over the years, she made sure that while performing videos the camera were faced to her face and her dancing. She uses the way in which she expresses her self through her body to send a message that she being comfort in your skin and with your sexuality is okay.
In Cuba, a hip-hop trio group known as Las Krudas Cubensi, rap about commonly overlooked challenges that people of color, specifically women of color, face. For example, many modern hip-hop feminists utilize their voluptuous figures in a commanding manner rather than adopting male rapper outfitting and lyric style. Aisha Durham writes that hip-hop aided in creating a style icon out of the female black body. She stated, "[Hip hop feminists] are moving and mobilizing and rescuing ourselves from virtual action blocks Hip-hop feminism is the answer to rap.
In fact, in the issue of Ebony magazine, Minaj asserted her place in the hip-hop world that she can stand on her own in the male-dominated genre and use her body in an empowering manner rather than an oppressive one. In her most recent album "Anti," her lyrics assert black female independence. Given Rihanna's past, the hip-hop feminist scene looked to her as a role model to stand up for domestic violence against the black female body.
Queerness in Hip-Hop[ edit ] Heteronormativity is reinforced in everyday social settings and can be observed in the hip hop arena. Patriarchal masculinity adheres to expectations of heterosexuality. In mainstream hip hop, the reinforcement of masculinity and adherence to heterosexuality manifests itself in the form of homophobia , particularly in the mainstream.
Blye Frank points out that gender obedience in coherence with heterosexuality and masculinity is a social product which is embedded in people's everyday lives. Frank claims that part of this gender obedience is expressed in the form of competition among men, which then often appears in the form of homophobia, discrimination and violence against men.
The use of homophobia in hip hop is then used as a tool to emphasize one's own masculinity and power. Terence Kumpf claims that gender and sex norms are recreated and reinforced in mainstream rap, while mainstream rap also uses homophobic and transphobic attitudes and lyrics to sell records.
Lyrical outting is a practice where MC's 'attack' another artist who is not queer or not openly queer, yet 'out' them by calling them gay or exposing them through the lyrics of a song or rap. In addition to the way that lyrical outting maintains the mainstream narrative of heterosexuality in hip hop; Lamont Hill also claims that it is proof that queer identities do not comfortably fit into the hip hop world.
The homophobia in Hip-Hop is situated in the larger world as well and therefore, homophobia is not exclusive to Hip-Hop and is a reflection of the larger society. A , and Kevin Abstract are Hip-Hop artists that are bringing queer identity to the forefront of popular music. He continues to work with mainstream rappers such as Rae Sremmurd and Santi Gold.
Tyler, the Creator is a contradictory representation of both homophobia and queerness in Hip-Hop. There has been controversy surrounding his sexuality because he has been largely accused of aggressive homophobia in his previous lyrics. In one particular lyric to a song released in , he raps, "come take a stab at it faggot, I pre-ordered your casket.
Along with the release of the merchandise, he released a photo of him and another man holding hands wearing the Pride T-shirts on his Tumblr blog. Ocean's bisexual identity is one that he both subtly and not-so-subtly discusses through his music.
In a July emotional letter posted as a tumblr screenshot on his blog, he reveals that he was involved in a relationship with a boy, which was well received by the larger Hip-Hop community  In his song "Chanel" he points towards his bisexuality in the following lines: I see both sides like Chanel.
He conveys a subtle gender queerness that is not often talked about in Hip-Hop culture and challenges the hypermasculinity in Hip-Hop.
These lines also further show his homosexuality and interest in men by claiming the guy he's talking about as his, using the metaphor of the Chanel symbol to discuss the duality in gender expression as well as his bisexuality. A is a queer female artist that displays feminism in hip hop by challenging gender norms with her music, appearance, and behavior.
A talks about her childhood and how she identified more with masculinity than with femininity. She used to play football and would cut the hair off of her Barbie Dolls in attempt to make them look more like boys.
She also mentioned how it was difficult to come out at first, especially to her mother. Even when she first started getting noticed for her rapping, she agreed to rap about boys and even wear a dress if necessary. Yet, she never did this. She mentions how none of that was her; she wasn't that type of person so she wasn't going to pretend to be it. A brings awareness to the queer community and the complexity of gender.
Macklemore , whose real name is Ben Haggerty, is a white, straight rapper that created one of hip hop's first mainstream anthems "Same Love" bringing attention to homophobia not only just in hip hop but across the world.
Macklemore is from Seattle, Washington where politics are more liberal leaning. He was featured in OUT magazine where he talked about his upbringing. My barber was gay. My uncles owned this restaurant that was a huge magnet for the gay community. My whole upbringing was around gay people. Macklemore has been accused of appropriation from both the Black community and the gay community but he says that the song is about equality. Although homophobia is a significant part of Hip Hop, people within this music industry are doing what they can to combat that and instead being advocates for the queer community within Hip Hop.
These women show society that they aren't afraid to push buttons and act not according to gender roles expected of them.